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Corylus avellana - Common Hazel

Corylus avellana (Common Hazel) is a deciduous shrub typically found in hedgerows. Thanks to recent appearances in some wonderful show gardens, this common native shrub is gaining in popularity when planted as a specimen multistem.

Although when left it can reach 8-10m height, it’s ability to withstand hard pruning means it is also suitable for a smaller space and can also be clipped to an architectural shape.

Flowering in early spring, Corylus avellana is monoecious with both the small red female flower and the long yellow male catkin on the same plant. The foliage is heart shaped, mid green with a double serrated margin. In Autumn it turns shades of yellow. The edible nuts which follow the flowers ripen in autumn adding year round interest. They are also a good source of food for wildlife.

Hazel can be a long-lived, especially when coppiced. The stems are very flexible and it has a long history of use in Britain and Europe, from fencing and hurdles to panels in wattle and daub building. It also has a reputation for magic being used to ward off evil spirits, water divining and the nuts carried as charms.

FACT: Described by Leonhart Fuchs as ‘Avellana nux sylvestris’ , the ‘wild nut of Avella’, a town in Italy which is where the species name originates from.

Plant Profile

Name: Corylus avellana

Common Name: Common Hazel

Family: Betulaceae

Height: Can reach 8-10m

Demands: Will grow in most well drained soils in sun or semi shade. Tolerant of exposed but not coastal positions

Foliage: Heart shaped, slightly hairy leaves with a double serrate edge. Green in summer, yellow in autumn

Flower: Long yellow male catkins and small red female flowers both borne in spring on bare stems

Fruit: Edible hazelnuts are produced, ripening in autumn

Bark: Responds well to coppicing, stems are flexible and can be used for fencing, woven hurdles, bean poles etc.

Corylus avellana info sheet

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